Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

Traffic Lights

Today is the 103rd anniversary of the first electric traffic system installed in Cleveland, Ohio in 1914. Four sets of red and green lights told drivers when to stop and go. The Cleveland Automobile Club praised the system, saying they expected that it was “destined to revolutionize the handling of traffic in congested city streets.

Ever wish for a few traffic lights to handle the congested traffic in your life? I have. Some days are over-filled with commitments and activities to the point of sheer exhaustion. And then I wonder how I allowed it to happen.

The problem is not that I don’t have traffic lights in my life. The problem is that I don’t always obey them. For me, those traffic lights include:

Daily quiet time

If I fail to start with a quiet time set aside to spend time with the Lord, I’m in big trouble before my day begins. Tuning my spirit to listen to His Holy Spirit is the best way for me to proceed into a daily routine that’s often far from routine. Someone once said, “If I’m too busy to spend time with God, then I’m too busy!

Reading and studying the Bible

While this is part of my quiet time, it’s more than just reading a few verses in the morning. It’s application, too. As I study the Bible, I learn biblical principles that help me make wise decisions – including decisions about how I spend my time.

Setting healthy boundaries

I have a tendency to be a people-pleaser. I want to be liked, so I will say yes when I should say no. And that gets me into trouble. Setting healthy boundaries – aka, knowing when to say no – is not easy for me. But if I start my day right with that daily quiet time, it’s easier (though never easy!) to follow the Lord’s leading.

Wise time stewardship

I know the traps that can drain my time faster than a bullet train. Television and social media are two that pull at me. But both have an off button. And I need to click that button more often than I do. That’s just plain old self-control. No excuses!

Listening to my husband

I probably lost a few people with this one. Still, this has been true in my own life. Too many times I have failed to heed the wise advice of my husband and then paid the price later. When he tells me to reconsider my schedule or a particular commitment, he’s usually right!

Traffic lights can’t help manage traffic if drivers don’t pay attention to them. We all know of accidents caused by people who’ve run a red light or raced through a yellow one. The same is true in life. So my commitment today is to follow the traffic signals in my own life.

How about you? What are the traffic lights in your life?

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  1. Pat Weimer

    Ava, You are right on point with this. I don’t think I’ll look at another traffic light the same way. Thank you for these wonderful words of wisdom. Love and blessings to you.

  2. Ava Pennington

    Thank you, Pat. I’ll be looking at them differently, too!

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